We have covered quite a few names for God. In this series, we have studied 12 and today we will look at one more. If we were to look at every name or title for God, we could go on for years. One website I found list 950 names for God from the Bible.[i]
There is only One God, in three persons—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. But because God is so important and His character is infinite and people have experienced Him in so many ways, we know God by many, many names. Don’t ever forget, though, that every name refers to the One True and Living God revealed in Scripture from the very first verse of Genesis at the beginning of the Bible to the last verse of Revelation at the end. All of Scripture is the story of the One God who created us and saved us, whom we will worship for all eternity.
Let us read together a passage that reveals one more important name for God.
7 Look! He comes with the clouds of heaven.
And everyone will see him—
even those who pierced him.
And all the nations of the world
will mourn for him.
There are 24 letters in the Greek alphabet. The very first letter is Alpha. The word alphabet we use to describe our own ABCs, actually comes from the first letter of the Greek alphabet—Alpha—and the second letter—Beta. These two words or letters are combined to give us Alpha-Bet to designate our 26 letters—A-Z. The Greek alphabet only has 24 letters, the first is Alpha and the last is Omega.
You may realize doctors and scientists are using the Greek alphabet to name variants of the COVID-19 virus. The variant all over the news right now is the Delta variant. Delta is the 4th letter of the Greek alphabet, which indicates it is the 4th variant of this virus. There was the original COVID-19 out of Wuhan, China. Then there was Alpha (the first variant) out of the UK. Beta came from South Africa. Then Gama was first identified in Brazil.
The Delta Variant is a far more infectious and faster growing variant than the others. That is why it Delta is causing more sickness and spreading more rapidly. But if Delta is the 4th letter in the Greek alphabet, are there more variants coming?
According to Alvin Powel of the Harvard Gazette, a publication of Harvard Medical School, “Variants have continued to develop and spread since the emergence of delta. The World Health Organization has designated variants Eta, Iota, Kappa, and Lambda “variants of interest” and is tracking 13 additional variants that originated in the U.S., Brazil, the Philippines, Indonesia, Colombia, and other nations.”[ii]
It would seem, we are going to be living with COVID-19 for a while. The verdict is still out on how well we will live with COVID. Will future variations of this virus be less lethal? Will the human immune system evolve to be better equipped to handle this illness? Or will a future version of COVID be more deadly than anything we have seen so far?
I wish we knew the answers to these questions, but human understanding is limited. All we know is what we know and all we can do is do our best. Thankfully, we have some treatments that help people heal and we have vaccines that—after over 350 million vaccinations in America—has proven itself to be safe and effective. Nothing is perfect, but you are more likely to be struck by lightning than have a life-threatening reaction to the COVID vaccination. And the vaccines are over 80% effective in warding off COVID or greatly reducing the severity of the illness. I think the hope is that if enough people are vaccinated, we can slowdown the spread and mutation of the virus so that future variants won’t have a chance to take hold and get out of control. If we can do that, then maybe the virus will become something like a common cold.
But I’m not here to talk about COVID. My purpose is to talk about God. And in Revelation 1:8 the Lord God says He is the “Alpha and Omega—the beginning and the end”. God is the first and last and everything in between. While we forget what happened yesterday and we don’t know what might happen tomorrow, God knows it all perfectly. We have no control over what tomorrow brings, but God is in control of it all. He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the one who is and always was and is still yet to come.
Genesis 1:1 – “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
God existed before the world was created. Before there was a thing called earth or heaven, before there was light or darkness, before there was time, God was. And though He needed nothing, out of love God created a beautiful planet with mountains and oceans and plants and animals and people. And God saw that it was very good.
Unfortunately, people didn’t love God the way He loves us. We rebelled and tried to make life all about us and what we wanted. Even though a loving relationship with God is all we needed to be truly happy and fulfilled, we turned our backs on God and chased our own selfish dreams. But God didn’t turn His back on us. From the very beginning, God has been working to save us from ourselves. And throughout the pages of the Bible, we can clearly see God working to bring us back to Him.
- God called Noah and his family to enter the ark and leave behind a world that had become overwhelmed by evil and to make a fresh start in a new world.[iii]
- God called Abraham to leave his country and go to a new land where God would make Abraham the father of a great nation and a blessing to all the families of the earth.[iv]
- God called Moses to lead the Israelites out of slavery into the Promised Land to be a holy nation, dedicated to God.[v]
- And the greatest example of all is Jesus Christ. Jesus called people to accept the relationship God offers them.
Before the world began, God already knew you and knew you would be sitting here in this sanctuary right now, with all your personal concerns swirling around in your head—fears, anxieties, hopes, dreams, disappointments. God already knew about all the things that would be overwhelming us today. We might feel overwhelmed, but He is not. He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. God always was and…
“Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.” (Romans 8:34)
I don’t know what you were thinking when you decided to come to church today. I don’t know what you are thinking right now, but I know what Jesus is doing right now. This Scripture tells me Jesus, the one who was with God in the beginning and who is God, the one who healed the sick, brought sight to the blind, the one who made the deaf to hear and the lame to walk, the one who never sinned, but was crucified to atone for our sins, Jesus is pleading to God on your behalf right this very moment.
God is. God is right this moment, extending His grace and forgiveness to you. Right this very moment, God is ready to welcome all who sincerely repent and trust Jesus as Lord. Right now, God is ready to grant you the gift of eternal life with Him where there will be no more sickness or sorrow or death, where every tear shall be wiped away and every hurt will be healed. God is here, right now. Won’t you turn to Him while there is still time? I sincerely hope you will, because…
“Yes, I am coming soon!” (Revelation 22:20)
Jesus promised us He would come again
After Jesus rose from the tomb, he spent 40 days with his disciples and then he ascended to Heaven where he sits at the right hand of God in the place of highest honor, pleading for you. When Jesus ascended into Heaven, He promised he would return. (See John 14:3) Two white robed, angelic figures confirmed Jesus promised return to the Disciples in Acts 1:11. “Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!”
Some critics and skeptics scoff that Jesus hasn’t “returned in the clouds” in nearly 2,000 years. I can assure you of this, you will meet Jesus face to face in your lifetime. Either Jesus will come in the clouds for the whole world all at once or Jesus will come for you personally when you take your last breath.
Revelation 1:7 tells us, “Look! He comes with the clouds of heaven. And everyone will see him—even those who pierced him. And all the nations of the world will mourn for him.”
Everyone will face Jesus one day. Will you rejoice to see Jesus, or will you mourn? Will you be overwhelmed by love or fear and dread? Will you spend eternity in paradise, rejoicing with your loved ones and celebrating with a feast or will you spend eternity suffering the tortuous separation from God, the Source of Life, in what the Bible variously describes as “the outer darkness”, the lake of fire, the second death, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teethe? It is the place most commonly known as Hell.
God is still to come and whether that is an incredible good thing or and incredibly bad thing depends upon the choice you make today.
For God is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come.